churchI have wanted to go to Oaxaca for a long time.  It is known for its blend of indigenous cultures that bring together a unique blend of art and food.  It is the place to find mole, mezcal, pottery, chocolate, coffee and silver.

treesThis magnificent tree in the center of town in many ways represents this town dating back to 500 bc. The church still remains the epicenter of town and somehow finds a need to ring bells, shoot off canyons and rocket off fireworks off and on over the course of 24 hours perhaps to keep everyone on their toes or to make sure they are in charge.  It doesn’t make for easy sleeping.

meatsWe got here mid-day and walked over to the 3 markets in town.  One is dedicated to eating food, one is dedicated to buying food to make and one is dedicated to clothing.  Mercado 20 November is the place to get lunch.  There is a row of meat vendors on one side of the market that all sit next to their own grill.  They are all identical so we chose the one where a local was buying her wares.

grillerThis young boy grilled up our meat and chorizo.

lunchThen you walk down the hallway to the few stalls where you can buy the guacamole, salsa and rest of the sides. Once you sit down they call over the woman who has the fresh tortillas.  All different vendors.  Then there are the full on entrepreneurs who walk around constantly pushing food or their wares in your face while your stroll.  Wonder what the customer acquisition is with that method.

breadsWe also bought one of the rolls that have a hint of anisette that should be dipped into the local hot chocolate

clothesA short walk through the clothing market.

chickenThen a longer walk through the market where you can buy your wares to bring home to cook.  The laws around food safety are a tad different here.  Chickens just laying around.

shrimpShrimp too

meatstobuyMeats too.

chilisOf course chilis for moles.

mezcalLots of mezcal.

wormsbugsAnd of course bugs including some worms.

fruitFruit too

cheesePlenty of cheese

muralWe left the markets and wandered through the buildings.  This is an amazing mural inside the Science museum.

libraryHere is the library.  All the buildings are open air since they were built so long ago but a few have put in material roofs.

artstoreThere are multiple galleries.  This one has local artists.

ceramicsThis one has local ceramic artists.

mocaOur last afternoon stop was their MOCA.  The backyard was the best part. It was extremely hot so we went back to the room chill and then return outside and wander before dinner.

streetThe streets are wide and the light is really beautiful at that time of night.

moleWe ended up in Galeria Quetzalli that was recommended to us from a gallerist in Mexico City.  They have two locations and the guy who ran it took us into both galleries and showed us all of their artists.  It was our own personal show which was quite a treat.  I wish I could say there was one artist that drew us in but there wasn’t.  Dinner was at Cafe Oaxaca that sits on top of one of the buildings overlooking the square.  We had everything to share and of course had a mole dish, suckling pig here.

ducktacosAlso duck tacos which were supposedly the thing to have.

Then we strolled back to our room.  We realized earlier in the day that Oaxaca is the Etsy of Mexico.  Many of the activities are around the main city which we were going to do but for us Mexico City is pulling us back. We shifted our flights and are leaving today.  The NYTimes has it right, 36 hours in Oaxaca is the call.